Tories Backtrack On Grange Community Centre




UPDATE: What we wrote below is based on what Chris thought he heard at the meeting. The trouble is, when you are not allowed to ask questions , it’s possible to get things wrong. See the post on October 22nd.

The Conservatives have backtracked on their ideas on Grange Community Centre in Rayleigh. They were going to make the voluntary association pay out over ?21,000 for repairs to the building and then increase the rent from ?50 per year to ?4000!

Because of the bad publicity this has attracted in the past week – and the Lib Dem promise to refer it up to full council for a very fierce debate – they have changed their mind. Instead the rent will stay at ?50 for the next year whilst the council pays for the repairs. And then in a years time the council will negotiate a new rent level.

This is a good night – another success.

But two things smell a little bit. First of all, Cllr Mavis Webster said that the council had monies set aside for these repairs. Well, that wasn’t mentioned in the report and how come the council had been trying to force the association to pay?

Also the cabinet want to put two district councillors onto the committee of the association. But rather than putting forward the two ward members for Sweyne Park Ward, Conservative Joan Mockford and Lib Dem Jackie Dillnutt, they are suggesting Conservative Mavis Webster instead of Jackie. The decision on this will be made at full council, but presumably the Tory view on this is “If you’re a Lib Dem, you don’t count”.

We will be reminding the Conservatives very firmly at the next full council meeting that people in Sweyne Park Ward elected Jackie in May to represent their concerns and act on their behalf!

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  • Chris, I believe you are correct regarding the motives of the Tories for delaying the decision on the Community Centre. Lets not forget there are local elections coming up next year and a decision to put up the rent by the ridiculous amount that was suggested would have been one of their big mistakes (and there have been a few) They would have lost big time in the polls so I expect the deferred decision will be made just after the next round of elections.

    How can they justify (and they should justify all their decisions to the electorate) not putting Jackie onto the committee? We all need an explanation on that, is it possible I could ask the question at the next West Area meeting? If there is a valid reason, fine, however I think they would be hard pressed to come up with one.

  • Mike, the shock waves from Jackie’s victory in May are still reverberating…..

    The justification that Cllr Mavis Webster made for suggesting herself was that she is the county councillor for that area. But that’s a very weak reason – it’s a district council nomination, not a county council one.

    The situation when you have two councillors from different parties can be an awkward one. (however I shared the old Downhall Ward with Tory Cllr Ken Cope from 84-86 and we got on pretty well OK)

    If there was only one nomination being made, it would be fair to propose Cllr John Mockford as the longer serving ward member. But with two places available, they really should support Jackie for the second position. I can’t believe it’s Joan Mockford’s idea to deny a place to Jackie – it would have come from someone else from within the party – but if the Tories persist with this it doesn’t paint Joan in a flattering light.

    – Chris

  • Chris, I for one, as a resident of the ward will complain to the council. It is Jackies ward and as the residents of the ward voted her in, we have full confidence in her ability. To effectively ban her from a seat on the committee, because she is not a Tory is very undemocratic and for a party who preaches democracy, well in national politics even if not in local politics, it is a very unsatisfactory situation that the council has created.

    This really feels as if it is a stitch-up. In a years time we will be back to square one and the Council will again be talking about taking over the Community Centre (and selling the land for development no doubt).

    It is a shame that no tory councillor has ever put their side to any issue that has come up on this website. That really says it all, there are tory councillors who read this site so are their reasons for taking actions so weak that they can’t defend them.

    Over to you District Councillors!

  • Mind you don’t be too hard on the individual Tory councillors Mike. Picture the scene , it’s a Tory group meeting with about 25 or 30 people there. Someone proposes that both positions should be taken by their party…..

    If the Tory bigwigs are in that mood you’d have to be as saintly as Joan of Arc to propose giving one of those places to a Lib Dem – and look what happened to her…

    The group/herd mentality has a lot to answer for. I just hope that as (hopefully) our group grows a bit, we avoid getting into that kind of frame of mind.

  • Hi Chris, i am not being too hard on anyone, however we all have our own thoughts on how we should live and behave. The people who ‘control’ residents (or whatever you prefer to call us) have a special responsibility. A responsibility that is above the call of the party. The people who are in control of our destiny have only the electorate to answer to. It is not rocket science, it is common sense. We vote for people we believe in, not as in national elections, the party. If these people LET US DOWN we will take our turn to show distain, at the next time we can vote.

    PLEASE TORY COUNCILLORS read this passage and learn, you do not have a god given right to be a councillor in any ward. You have to earn that right. If you get this wrong, you will be voted out at the next possible time. You have a duty to the people who have put you in this privileged position, not some CEO of a district council who most residents have never heard of.

    Please listen and LEARN.

    Mike Nobes

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